In many ways, “netroots” really is confrontational and does hold politicians accountable. In the 1960’s and 70’s large numbers of people just showing up for a demonstration was a statement. At YKOS more than 1,500 people showed up and these attendees represented tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people who read and write in political blogs every day.
The disbursement of information is a powerful tool and the people who attended the YKOS Convention represent a growing political movement. Howard Dean talked about campaigns as dialogue and listening, not just for listening for the sake of getting elected, but in a way that actually integrates the ideas of constituents into the policies and positions of candidates.
On the other hand, the holding back of information is deceptive and undemocratic. Our leaders need to be held accountable. The results of “Netroots” has been the opening up of campaigns and candidates to questions outside of the traditional media and Washington beltway mentality. “Netroots” demands that Candidates and Politicians enter into real and meaningful dialogue.
Immediate and Specific Application of Honest and Open Dialogue
Upon my return from Chicago, I read that my opponent, Senator John Kerry, was AWOL relative to one of the most important votes of this Senate term–the FISA vote http://18.104.22.168…
My first reaction was that, for a U.S. Senator to miss such an important vote, there had to have been a family crisis or a medical emergency. To my astonishment, Senator Kerry?s spokesperson said he left the Senate to go on a charity bike ride http://video1.washin…
As the facts have come out, this statement by a spokesperson may not have been the entire truth. The charity bike ride was the next day?August 4th! Senator Kerry was present in the U.S. Senate in the morning of August 3rd at 9:38 am when he voted to approve a U.S. District Court Judge http://22.214.171.124… .
However, there seems to be no record of Mr. Kerry being in the Senate after this morning vote was taken although 2 more votes were recorded on August 3rd http://126.96.36.199…
I recently sent Senator Kerry a letter http://edoreilly.com… calling upon him to tell his employers, the people of Massachusetts, what time he left work on August 3rd, whether he entered into any of the debate on the FISA bill, and exactly where he was at 9:16 pm when the FISA vote was taken at his place of employment, the United States Senate.
Riding or Posing?
Until a response from John Kerry, himself, to the contrary, the truth may be that Senator Kerry was not really riding at the time of this vote, as stated by his spokesperson. Senator Kerry may actually have been posing at a gathering the night before the race. To think that a U.S. Senator could be AWOL for one of the most important votes of this session because of the lure of sound bites and photo ops is almost beyond belief.
Most Americans can not leave their jobs at their leisure. When I was a corrections officer, it would have been unthinkable for me to just leave my post in a guard tower to get my picture taken for even a well known, worthwhile and important charity event. When I was a firefighter, it would have been unconscionable for me not to respond to a medical emergency or a fire because I wanted to bask in the lights of cameras. Is not our Constitution of equal merit?
Senator Kerry?s spokesperson said he would have returned to Washington if needed. Does the U.S. Senate not debate and exert the power of persuasion over fellow Senators within the U.S. Senate Chamber? Isn’t the job of a United States Senator more than a perfunctory activity?
The FISA vote was an extremely close vote where one vote would have made a difference. If Senator Kerry is a leader, as he self proclaims, he had a duty to at least stay and try to persuade just one fellow Democrat to stand up for our Constitution. The bottom line is that by not voting, Senator Kerry subverted the very nature of the democratic process.
Furthermore, by being AWOL on the FISA legislation, Senator Kerry has given up all future credibility to lead any fight against this Imperialistic Presidency. Leaders lead by example.
In 2002, Senator Kerry, over the objections of Senator Robert Byrd and the insistence of Senator Kennedy, voted to give the Executive Branch unbridled power to wage war in Iraq which has left us in the present situation. Last week, Senator Kerry gave the Executive Branch unbridled power to electronically eavesdrop without a warrant on the citizens of the United States.
As with Iraq, Congress is going to have a difficult time undoing the damage done, as this op-ed in Saturday?s New York Times so succinctly states: http://www.nytimes.c…
Senator Kerry has insisted that he is leading the fight in Washington. When it came to the FISA vote and standing up for our Constitutional Rights, there is no doubt Senator Kerry was leading the flight from Washington.
In the tradition of “netroots”, perhaps Senator Kerry could speak for himself rather than through a spokesperson on the FISA vote. How can the principles of “netroots” and open dialogue occur through spokespeople? The people of Massachusetts and this country want honest and open dialogue in order to insure the integrity of the democratic process. After all, when it comes to photo ops and sound bites, has Senator Kerry ever had difficulty standing front and center?
Democratic Candidate for the U.S. Senate from, and for, Massachusetts